Wikipedia Founder Debuts 'Radical' Site to Fight Fake News

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The Wikipedia founder said that in the early days of Wikitribune a more "traditional process" of editing and publishing will be followed by journalists on staff, but community members will also then be able to participate in the editing and publishing of stories. Launched today, the website is running a crowdfunding campaign and has already bagged 1,733 supporters.

Very noble, top idea - but it won't likely take on the news giants of the world - because as much as Jimmy Wales seemingly detests click-bait, it's not going anywhere soon.

"If you can get together a certain number of people who are interested in Bitcoin [for example] and you flag that when you sign up as a monthly supporter, then we'll hire a Bitcoin person to do the beat full-time".

Executives at Facebook and Google have conceded that the dissemination of fake stories-such as one infamous piece accusing Hillary Clinton being part of an underground pedophile ring -through social media may have helped swing last year's election in Trump's favor.

The primary objective for the launch of Wikitribune is to bring free (no paywalls/subscriptions) and advertisement-free journalism to the screen near you. The news service will use volunteer journalists as well as paid professionals, and will be funded by regular donations from supporters.

Jimmy Wales
Image Jimmy Wales founder of Wikipedia and Wikitribune

"Good things can happen when a crowd goes to work on trying to figure out a problem in journalism", she said in a blog post.

Reports will cover issues ranging from general news, such as United States and United Kingdom politics, through to specialist science and technology, and the aim is that the contributing community of readers will fact check and subedit published articles. The site will be supported exclusively by donations from readers, and details of finances will be published regularly in the name of transparency.

Wikitribune will share several features that can be seen in Wikipedia, including the necessity to detail where sources of information were located. There are also plans for readers to fact-check articles, as well as subedit writing on the site, à la Wikipedia.

Advisers to the website include Silicon Valley venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, journalist Jeff Jarvis, law professor Larry Lessig and actor/model Lily Cole. Once the money starts rolling in, the journalists will work on producing news stories Wales clearly feels will be of a higher quality than most now being published online.

Wikitribune plans to ensure that, just like Wikipedia, sources are readily available. There's no paywall, so anyone can read Wikitribune.